Thursday, July 24, 2014

Honeycomb finished

A week or so ago, while fishing a tennis ball out from under the couch (a fun game my dog plays with me, where she rolls and I fetch the ball), I found a wadded up heap of cotton that turned out to be my unfinished honeycomb project from my Modern Minis class earlier this year. Yikes! I let it hang for a few days to get rid of most of the wrinkles, then I spent a little time quilting it up. I started with curved flower of life lines using the walking foot. It felt unfinished, so I did a little freemotion filler within the "petals", then switched to a gold thread for the loopy quilting, inspired by the bee's waggle dance, in the background.
Finished honeycomb wallhanging. Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.
Close-up of embroidery on honeycomb project. Design by Urban Threads.
Close-up of quilting on honeycomb quilt.
Close-up of quilting on honeycomb project.
 I finished the project with a sewn-in label featuring a Rilke quote:

We are continually overflowing toward those who preceded us, toward our origin, and toward those who seemingly come after us. ... It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again "invisibly," inside us. We are the bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.
Words by Rilke. Quilt by me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Pair of Finishes

Last fall I fell in love with the Forest Floor line of fabric, which eventually turned into a mid-scale Lotus quilt. I probably put some photos on my Facebook page, but it never showed up here and since I just finished quilting and binding it, this seems as good a time as any. This is done with the 6" jewel shape, so each triangle is 10" high.
Finished Lotus quilt. 46 x 60"
I was very happy with the loopy quilting, done with my always-favorite Sulky Blendables in some lovely variegated browns.
Forest Floor Lotus quilt, close up of loopy quilting.
I always save the scraps when I'm using the Hex N More ruler, and (as I posted about already) the scraps of this quilt turned into a wonderful little coordinating wallhanging.
Save those Hex N More scraps! 19 x 26"
I did a little Google-based research (pretty serious stuff) and adjusted the name of the quilt. Apparently "pareidolia" is a specific type of false pattern recognition in which a particular (often human, often facial) image is "recognized," like the man in the moon. It's a subtype of the more general "apophenia," which refers to the human tendency to seek patterns in random information. That works well for this project, which I think looks like it could be (but isn't!) a Microsoft Tag. Plus, with the simple addition of a few letters, I've got a terrific (OK, slightly hokey) quilt name!
 I've been stitching up a storm, so I have a lot more on the way...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Color Journals: Purple for Ann Marie

Ann Marie likes purple, with accents of teal and turquoise; she wanted a page that conveyed something about the natural world or the idea of change. I started with a beautiful fabric with hints of metallic sheen, added a stylized silhouette applique, and finished with a little curved piecing in the lower section. Tight loopy quilting in the lighter fabrics made the bird shape stand out from the foam batting, almost a trapunto look. The words ahead of the bird's wings are the first line of Maya Angelou's "Caged Bird." I love her poetry, how she chose words that could transform the ugliest reality into beautiful possibility, and I thought they were appropriate for this lovely simple page.
Purple page for Ann Marie
Purple page for Ann Marie (reverse). For the first time ever, I planned the back too, so the outlined bird shape would appear to be dipping its wing into the orange sun rays.
First verse of Caged Bird
All caught up! I've already finished most of the work on the next page, blue and brown for Rose -- hint (but no spoilers!): my husband asked if we could keep this one...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Color Journals: Orange for Patti

Orange! I was a little surprised that somebody else picked orange, but happily so, since it gave me the chance to work in my favorite color. Patti asked us to make a page that would inspire her to work in different directions, so I decided to create a hard-line geometric page. I had been doodling on my triangle graph paper trying to get the look of ribbons woven through one another over the isometric grid; I realized that elongated hexagons in Y-shapes would do it.

The next challenge was to scale the design so it would work on an 8 x 10" page, so I used PowerPoint to draft the two shapes, scaled so the tiny triangle was 0.5" high and 0.58" wide. I basted three colors of oranges (light, medium, coppery dark) in sets of three, then sewed the Ys together. I didn't wrap or sew the white triangles until I had determined how many I would need to fill the space. I originally intended to embellish the Y intersections, but once I finished the hand quilting (not masterfully done, but let's call it a "wabi sabi" aesthetic...) it was done. I like that the small scale of the piecing remains central.

Orange journal page for Patti.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Color Journals: Daydreaming in blue for Gerry

Due to my vacation schedule, I haven't been able to attend my journal art meeting since April. I finally made it this Tuesday, with three projects that have been backlogged. I hope the delay wasn't too disruptive to the group. I'll put up separate posts for each.

My assignment for May was to make a page in blue plus a neutral for Gerry, who also selected a theme of Daydreaming. Traveling is what I daydream about, so I worked through the basic techniques in my newest book purchase Art Quilt Maps, to build a background layer of cottons, sheers, and a few interesting upholstery bits. I added some very faint neutral paint (I can't believe there's a color called "Metallic Taupe" -- reminds me of National Lampoon's Vacation), then started building a river, roads, fields, and houses. I used a nice combination of machine and hand stitching, glued on a few embellishments, and finally had some success with the sparkly Angelina fiber. I'll let the photos say the rest.
Inspiration and technique. I love this book.
Daydreaming -- full view
Daydreaming close-up. I thought this looked kind of like a cul-de-sac, but without the compass rose it was more like a big grey lollipop. I loved how the tiny squares -- cut from a Stonehenge print -- looked like houses on a development plan.  I wasn't replicating a specific map of any particular place, so I don't know what the rectangular bit is "supposed" to be; it's all rather abstract.
Daydreaming close-up. I love the gridded grey sheer on the right. I can envision using this on a bunch of other map projects. The hand stitched Xs were for some dimension and interest. I glued some brass caps onto this segment of the "houses."
I love how these circles above the river came out. Hand stitching and glued brass embellishments. I stitched down each wale of the white corduroy rectangle in the upper right corner.
Coming soon: Patti's orange page!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Retirement!

Last month my father finally retired, so the family got together for a (mostly) surprise party last weekend. I'm so glad that he now has the time to putter around doing whatever he wants with his time. In honor of his retirement, my mom asked me to make him a Pittsburgh Pirates t-shirt quilt, so I did a little figurin' and measurin' and slicin' and stitchin', and this is what I came up with. This black city fabric has been hanging around forever, and I'm happy I still had it for this project; the gold also has a much fainter city map print. The borders around the t-shirts were very simple, but I liked the skyline effect that showed up. The quilt was a big hit at his party. Some of the shiftier guests -- aunts and uncles and the like -- were eyeing it up as they headed for their cars (just kidding!). Congratulations and thanks for all of your years of hard work, Dad!
Dad's Pirates quilt
Back of Dad's Pirates quilt, inspected by Stella
Label of Dad's Pirates quilt

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 hexagons!

An original design BY ME, using the cutest little fussy cut seahorses. I used the swiss-cheese leftovers from the same print as the blue segments, and a coordinate for the striped pinwheels. I had planned to leave the top and bottom edges hex-shaped, but the shape looked weird on this baby-size quilt, so I filled in the pink in the middle, but I left the corners angled. The quilting is a simple meander with pink variegated Sulky.

Hexagonal seahorses!

Now I don't have to think about what to do with this cute panel -- it was the perfect size for the back of this cute little quilt!